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Everything that was special about Saints season was absent Sunday

The strengths that the Saints have demonstrated throughout the season were not there Sunday.

NEW ORLEANS — This Saints season-ending loss to Minnesota was stunning, and it stunned the WWL-TV Sports Office because of how unusual the game was compared to the rest of the season.

For instance, the Saints have been terrific all season — top five in the NFL — in stopping the run, but Minnesota ran it right at the Saints, very effectively all game.

This season, the Saints were top five in the NFL at protecting the quarterback, but Sunday, Drew Brees was harassed all game. He was sacked three times and was under pressure throughout the game. Watching the game, it was obvious.

The strengths that the Saints have demonstrated throughout the season were not there Sunday.

Mike Thomas, who has been unstoppable all year, was largely held in check by the Vikings. Cam Jordan, who has been unstoppable all season, was largely held in check by the Vikings.

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Brees has been unbelievably good, especially statistically, and especially from a quarterback rating standpoint. 

Brees has protected the ball and put up good numbers during the season, but Sunday, Brees personally had two turnovers — one interception, one fumble. 

All the things that have made this season special weren't there Sunday against the Vikings, and it was stunning across the board.

After the game, the message from Sean Payton and Drew Brees was "the Vikings just outplayed us." They didn't have anything more than that.

They certainly weren't angry about any of the calls, the potential "no-call" on the offensive pass interference at the end of the game. None of that. They just said "the Vikings outplayed us," and if you saw the game, Minnesota — for this day at least — was the better team.

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If the Saints and Vikings played 10 times, the Saints win at least seven, maybe eight of those 10 games, but the fact is Sunday's game was one of the games where the Vikings were the better team, and the Saints season is over.

Immediately, fans are thinking about the future. Obviously, the big question mark: Will Drew Brees come back?

He would not say after the game. 

He is an unrestricted free agent, and he could go elsewhere. It's doubtful that he'll retire.

Gut feeling says, he'll be in black and gold next season.

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He said things in his postgame comments that would lead some to believe that he's coming back. 

Although, for the record, he said "I'm going to think about it and let you know later." There is no decision for now.

The Saints' season ended in stunning fashion, and after the game, most Saints fans were still trying to wrap their heads around how this thing ended.

The fact is Minnesota was just the better team on the Saints' final Sunday of the 2019 season. 

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